Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon pickles

I bet you didn’t know you could pickle the green rinds from the watermelon until now unless you happen to be from the Southern states of the USA and living in Brixton currently….

I discovered this because I’ve been buying so much watermelon recently. The stall under the on the corner of Pope’s Road and Atlantic Road by the Village is selling massive hunks of it for a mere pound and I can’t stop myself. (Nor can I resist the bargain cherries and flat peaches.) I felt wasteful simply tossing the rind in the bin as it doesn’t compost. So I was delighted to discover you can pickle it and end up with something as crunchy as cucumber but a little bit different for once.

Originally published at Brixton Blog….

Pickled Watermelon Rinds (makes 4 x 300ml jars)

  • 750g watermelon rinds
  • 600ml brine made with 50g sea salt and cold water (see below)
  • 300ml water
  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 250g sugar
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1/4 alligator pepper pod (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 4 tablespoons ginger cordial or 2 inches thinly sliced fresh ginger

These are very easy to make but like most pickles, they aren’t exactly fast. They take two days to make (ie: sit in a brine and then a syrup) and around 4 weeks to mature. This will take you to the end of the watermelon season and allow you to extend the craving for its flavour.

Begin by cutting the flesh away from the rind with a sharp knife. It doesn’t matter if you leave a little bit behind. Peel the dark green layer away with a potato peeler until you have a pale green rind. Slice into roughly 4-5cm pieces and set aside.

Make the brine by adding the 50g of sea salt in 600ml of cold water and dissolving it over a medium heat. Allow to cool and then pour it over the rinds. Leave them somewhere cool and away from cats or kids overnight or for 8 hours to brine.

Next day, drain them and rinse well. Set into a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly softened. Drain after 10 minutes and set aside.

While the rinds, make the pickling liquor by adding the 300ml water, vinegar, sugar and all the spices in a saucepan and heating it gently. Add the fresh ginger at this stage but don’t add the ginger cordial if using. Allow it all to heat for 10 minutes. Add the rinds to hot syrupy liquor.

Allow to sit and mingle all the flavours together for at least 2 hours. 3 is best. Bring the rinds back to the boil at this stage and simmer for another 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 160℃ and sterilise your clean jars for 10 minutes.

Spoon the hot rinds into the hot jars and cover with the hot liquid. Cover with the lids of the jars, but don’t screw them tight until cooled. Tighten the lids and store in a dark cupboard or the fridge for 4 weeks while the pickles mature. Serve with a feta salad, barbecued meats or on the side of a sandwich.

They are sweet, sour, salty and spiced and utterly addictive. I ate a whole jar in two days and used it as an excuse to get takeaway from Miss P’s Barbecue pop up at Market House between 5-10pm on weekdays. They made pulled pork interesting again!

Miss South is also Food and Drink Editor at the Brixton Blog and their little brother paper the Brixton Bugle. This recipe originally appeared there.

7 replies
  1. Nicola Miller Editor of Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk
    Nicola Miller Editor of Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk says:

    Ever since I read ‘Farmer Boy’ where Almanzo’s pig, Lucy was unable to eat a proffered pickle (because her mouth was sealed shut by some toffee he gave her earlier) I have wanted to try them. I couldn’t tell you why I have yet to do this because my shelves are packed with hundreds of American cookbooks that are, in turn, packed with hundreds of recipes for watermelon rind pickles. I have no excuse other than I suspect a fear that the reality might not match my childhood imagining of their taste. The lack of a Cicada and cricket chorus to herald their eating, the lack of those balmy American evenings speckled with fireflies and without a porch might also have something to do with it too.

    BUT I am going to try and I am going to use your recipe. Thank you.

    My other site is http://goo.gl/25gqJo

  2. Lee
    Lee says:

    Nice one, we’ve been lobbing these in the compost (they don’t compost you say?!), so I’ll hang on to enough to make up a batch of this. Does it actually taste watemelony – not the strongest of flavours – or just it just use their texture?

  3. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Lee: someone told me you can’t compost them but since I’ve never composted in my life, I would check that out for sure. (Google disclaimer, I did see others say it too.) The pickles taste slightly watermelony, just a light freshness of melon but mainly it’s the texture. We polished off a jar in one sitting…

    Nicola: I love that you have such strong emotions about childhood foods from American books. I went through a stage where everything had to be about billycans and corn dogs. Neither of which I really know anything about. I hope these match your dreams and if not just come back and let’s talk hush puppies…

  4. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Kavey: I toyed with doing a curry with them but didn’t feel I had enough experience at curries to do my own recipe, so I’ll definitely do your mum’s recipe this weekend for dinner. I think the rinds would keep well in the freezer. They also last longer if you peel the green skin off first. Enjoy!

  5. Julia
    Julia says:

    Yes, you can compost and you can also freeze and pickle rinds later. Just did up a batch and made Watermelon Jelly as well….kinda tired of my pickled recipe so Looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

  6. Ana
    Ana says:

    I had candied watermelon rind in Turkey, and it was a revelation! Really tasty, plus a fantastic way of using up sth we would normally throw away, and get a great treat for our troubles.

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